The Dallas Cowboys will enter the new season with hopes that placing some familiar faces in new places could help address some trouble areas on the roster.
CHAUNCEY GOLSTON IS THE EPITOME OF POSITION FLEXIBILITY
The interior of the defensive line is a sneaky need for the Dallas Cowboys. As potential starters, Osa Odighizuwa and Mazi Smith will make a hell of a tandem. With Johnathan Hankins and Quinton Bohanna fighting for position for that backup nose tackle spot, the three-technique leaves something to be desired. I believe Dan Quinn has seen enough of Neville Gallimore by now.
Teams should allow players to show their worth but face the facts if they’re not performing well. Enter Chauncey Golston. Most see Golston as a Tyrone Crawford clone, but I see more than that. At 6’5″ 285lbs, he has the physical frame coupled with the burst to cause trouble from the interior. He’s not half bad against the run either.
Is it concerning that the adjustment may leave the edge position compromised? Absolutely. However, I’ve watched too many games over the last two seasons where Odighizuwa played excessive snaps. Just last season, Osa recorded 706 total snaps, with Neville coming in at a distant second with 422 and Golston with 278. Something is not right with those numbers.
That’s too many snaps for Odighizuwa from a fatigue standpoint. For Gallimore, just watch the film, and you will know why. Add insult to injury. According to Pro Football Focus, Gallimore’s run defense grade was an abysmal 29.7 out of 100. A score like that could have blown up the scantron machine. I know, I’m dating myself.
Golston’s issue lies not in the number of snaps he receives but in his placement on the field. Yes, he would benefit from an additional 50-60 opportunities. He’s undoubtedly the Cowboys’ Swiss army knife, having taken 144 snaps on the interior and 126 over the tackle or on edge. I suggest moving a significant portion of his snaps to the interior position. Three of his highest-graded games occurred when he played for 10 or more snaps over the guard position.
We’re not going to like to hear this one but is it possible Luke Schoonmaker was taken in the wrong place at the wrong time by being drafted by the Cowboys?
Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan
We’ve pegged Dallas as a prime alternative for a couple of rookies on this list. However, the Cowboys won’t provide former Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker with an ideal situation. The Cowboys do have a big opening at the position after losing Dalton Schultz in free agency. However, Dallas’ lack of an established starter is a problem for the relatively raw former Wolverine.
“Schoonmaker is an exciting draft-and-develop type, but an older one,” Derrik Klassen of the B/R Scouting Department wrote. “His size, field-stretching ability and baseline blocking skills are a great foundation to try to build upon. Schoonmaker’s development may take time, however, just as it did in college.”
Dallas used the 59th overall pick on Schoonmaker, and he’ll be expected to have a big early impact. That’s not the fault of the tight end, who was the 95th-ranked prospect on the B/R board, but that expectation is unrealistic.
Don’t be surprised if Schoonmaker begins his career backing up 2022 fourth-round pick Jake Ferguson for at least a season or two. That could lead to the dreaded “bust” label getting thrown around and possibly to Dallas signing a veteran that pushes Schoonmaker further down the depth chart.
The 24-year-old would have been better off landing with a team that has an established No. 1 tight end and in a more suitable draft range. Had the Pittsburgh Steelers taken him 93rd overall, for example, he could have developed behind Pat Freiermuth as an occasional contributor with more reasonable expectations.
Quarterback Dak Prescott and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are trying to hit the ground running this upcoming season. Both are working tirelessly to get on the same page for best results.
The duo is off to a fast start this spring, and that bodes well for a Cowboys offense that is looking to take the next step in returning to the top of the NFL’s totem pole from a production standpoint.
“First of all, I love him, and I’ve always admired him from afar,” said Schottenheimer of his quarterback. “I’ve competed against him many times.” As former offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks who spent the 2022 season as a coaching analyst for the Cowboys, the two have met in-between the lines a time or two, and Schottenheimer made sure to remind Prescott of at least one of the outcomes.
“I reminded him we got the best of him in 2019 up in Seattle,” he said, wearing a sly grin. “But they got us in the playoffs in 2018 so I think we’re close even.” And now they’re on the same side. “I love the man,” Schottenheimer said. “I love the work ethic. He’s a tireless preparer. The way the guys follow him. The way he wants to be coached, the way he wants to be open-minded to trying different things from a fundamental standpoint.
“That shows you the sign of a true winner, a champion, and I’m looking forward to working with him going forward.” For Prescott’s part, the feeling is mutual. “Things have been great,” said the two-time Pro Bowler, speaking from the 10th Annual Reliant Home Run Derby in early May. “The way that the coaches have been working together, you can see their chemistry and how together they are in making sure they give us everything — the right way, the first way. Right now, it’s about getting comfortable in the plays that we wanna run and finding out who exactly we wanna be, and what we run the best.
3 reasons why the Cowboys might consider adding free agent QB Carson Wentz - Jess Haynie, Blogging the Boys
A former foe turns friend in this scenario if the Cowboys added Carson Wentz and here’s why it would be worth giving it a try.
It wasn’t that long ago that Wentz was playing MVP-worthy ball for the Eagles. We certainly haven’t seen that version of him consistently in a while, but Wentz still posted a 94.6 passer rating with the Colts in 2021. You still see him do things in games, even last year with Washington, that only a handful of NFL quarterbacks are capable of with his pocket movement and throws on the run.
That’s what makes Wentz such an intriguing guy for depth. His inconsistency as a starter is rightfully concerning for a team with championship goals, but his ability to come in and do some special things is rarely found by most backup quarterbacks.
Of course, talent isn’t everything. You could put Cooper Rush’s face on a t-shirt with that slogan. Rush is the opposite of Wentz; mediocre skills but consistent execution and cautious decision-making. He went 4-1 as a starter last year for Dallas by doing the exact things Wentz has struggled with at times, avoiding turnovers and sticking to conservative methods.
But when Dallas faced the Eagles for that fifth game in Rush’s starting run, you saw where a guy like him caps out as an asset. He simply isn’t good enough to compete against elite opposition. A guy like Wentz may be scarier in some situations, but on a good day, he might give you more hope against the cream of the NFL crop.
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